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Many El Pasoans unsure about who Cesar Chavez is

By: Chrisdyann Uribe
EL PASO, Texas - It's an official state holiday and the reason most schools are off on Monday, Cesar Chavez Day.

KFOX14 asked many El Pasoans who Cesar Chavez was and how he made an impact.

"I know he fought for Mexican American rights and that's really all I remember," said Leah Tapia.

Most of the answers were similar. Some had no clue who he was, others had an idea and few knew of the man.

"To be honest, not really; it's been a while since I read up on him. I heard he did some amazing things, so that's pretty cool," said Ruben Reyes.

According to CNN, Chavez devoted his life to improving conditions and pay for workers in the fields. He fought for farm workers to have clean water, fair pay, rest breaks and restrooms. He bettered the condition workers faced, including the pesticides they worked in, which were dangerous. He helped banned the short-handled hoe, which was also a danger to the farmworkers, destroying their backs as they used it.
He was also noted for fighting for these rights with peace. He created organizations dedicated to achieving better conditions yet were married to the idea of nonviolence. Many see him in a parallel light as Martin Luther King Jr. and Mahatma Gandhi.

"He saw an injustice. He didnt complain about it. He did something about it. He brought awareness," said Cathy Coronado, the organizer of Cesar Chavez march.

She said many El Pasoans are indirectly impacted at most meals by what Chavez did.

"The food that they have at their table is because of the farmworkers. The workers that get up early and work long hours," Coronado said.

She hopes with the biopic Cesar Chavez movie debuting, more El Pasoans will appreciate and have awareness for what Chavez did.

"It really is heartbreaking because as a Latino community, hes an icon. He's someone that we should look up to," Coronado said.

On Monday, there will be a march in honor of Chavez.

Participants will meet at 5 p.m. at Sin Fronteras on 201 E 9th Ave.

The film, "Cesar Chavez: An American Hero" opens nationwide on Friday.